Hong Kong protests impact luxury goods sales

Hong Kong
Published:  09 October, 2019

After four months of arrests, luxury brands such as Hermès, Gucci and Prada expect the protests to directly affect the retail figures for the third quarter, with some analysts estimating sales declines of between 30% to 60%.

As some shops were forced to shut, retail sales are reported to have dropped 23% in the month of August alone, with visitor arrivals declining 39% and the number of mainland tourists to Hong Kong falling an estimated 42.3%. “We don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel”, Annjie Yau Tse, Chair, Hong Kong Retail Management Association, told Reuters. Since Hong Kong is a major centre for high-end timepieces, luxury watchmakers are expected to be particularly impacted by the protests as the region comprises about 11-12% of global sales for Switzerland’s Swatch Group and Richemont’s Cartier.

Hermès said it has been forced to temporarily shut five stores in September, while Chanel has postponed a planned fashion show until a “later and more appropriate moment”. Luxury goods are generally cheaper in Hong Kong than China, but rich Chinese tourists are said to be going on shopping trips to Japan instead of Hong Kong, while South Korea, Australia and Singapore are also benefiting from the unstable situation. According to local reports, Prada is planning to quit its 1,400 sq m store in the retail heart of Hong Kong in 2020 due to declining sales.

Source: Reuters